'You Tories shall be punished. Revenge! Revenge!'
ON 23 NOVEMBER 1839 the Queen made her Declaration of Marriage at Buckingham Palace before an assembly of Privy Councillors. She appeared before them in a simple dress and wearing a miniature of Prince Albert in a bracelet on her wrist. It was 'rather an awful moment', she confessed; and her hands were so fluttering that she nearly dropped the paper on which the Declaration was written. 1 But, as at her first Council meeting, her voice was clear and true. J. W. Croker, the politician and essayist, thought her 'as interesting and handsome as any young lady' he had ever seen. 2
News of the engagement had already reached Coburg and Gotha where it had been received with great pleasure. In Coburg the sounds of gunfire and pistol shots in the streets could be heard throughout the night; and in Gotha cannon thundered as the Prince, standing in the throne room before the ladies and gentlemen of the Court, was invested with the Order of the Garter by his father, the Duke, and Queen Victoria's half-brother, Prince Charles of Leiningen, both Knights of the Garter themselves. At the subsequent banquet the band of the Coldstream Guards, which had sailed from England for the occasion, played 'God Save the Queen' 3
In England, where the Prince landed at Dover on 7 February after a stormy, five-hour crossing, crowds gathered to cheer him on his way through Kent in the pouring rain, escorted by the Earl of Cardigan's 11th Light Dragoons, henceforth known as the 11th Prince Albert's Own